Elected representative and officials in the West Clare Municipal District will hold a presentation in September to gain a better understanding of the work required in bringing a world class Greenway to the county.
North Clare councillors, Roisin Garvey, Shane Talty, Joe Killeen and Joe Garrihy proposed at a recent meeting of the West Clare MD that a presentation be organised by both the Director of Physical and Rural Development in Clare County Council on Greenways. They asked that this would include contributions from “an expert on best practice for the infrastructure used”, “an engineer from one of the engineering companies that have successfully liaised with landowners in developing greenways” and Waterford farmer, Tom Fennell who was initially opposed to greenways but is now an advocate.
“This presentation is being proposed to begin the process of getting the best Greenway in Ireland for North and West Clare at a time where the West Clare Municipal District faces job losses due to Moneypoint’s proposed closure and the need for the regeneration of struggling towns like Miltown Malbay and Corofin,” the quartet stated.
Senior engineer, Sean Lenihan said, “The delivery of a world class Greenway is a key priority for the Council” and is acknowledged in the County Development Plan 2017-2023. “Funding will be sought from all suitable sources to advance the design and delivery of the overall proposal totalling approximately 85km. It is hoped that we may be able to deliver a smaller (23km) section between Kilrush and Kilkee as a pilot phase”.
He said that any such development requires co-operation and collaboration with affected landowners and local interest groups. “Some preliminary engagement has taken place already and at the appropriate time, we will consult widely with landowners and their representative groupings”. Lenihan confirmed the Council would facilitate the requested presentation.
Cllr Garvey said Waterford has been boosted by one million annual bednights as a result of the Greenway. “This is going to happen, it should have happened 10 years ago, the Council has used different approaches. This is the time that we get this Greenway off the ground, it is paramount that we get the farmer from Waterford to come up to us and talk to the farmers”. Cllr Cillian Murphy suggested the presentations be open to the entire community but Garvey replied, “Step one is to get the Council on board”.
Independent councillor, Ian Lynch commented. “We’re all convinced this needs to happen. Anytime this appears in the paper there’s hysteria. The reason nothing has gone out is there is no plan. There is great opposition to it because of the fear to it, there is a fierce sense of frustration to it. This is an economically deprived area that needs money pumped into it. I would be a bit cautious about getting the message out too soon, there is not an issue with the farmers, there are concerns”.
Director of Service, Leonard Cleary confirmed a special briefing would be organised prior to the West Clare MD’s September meeting.